September has turned out to be a busy month for webmasters Bill and Mary. Airfare was reasonable, and the marathon dates turned out to fit well into our schedule. Running 4 marathons in 9 days might not be ideal, but, we enjoy it, and it turns out, my legs have cooperated.
Training partner Dennis Hanna's son-in-law Joey Heinrichs was along for this trip. He earned his first BQ in Idaho the day before, running a 3:06. To my benefit, this feat slowed Joey for this marathon, enough to a pace that I could maintain, and we ran the whole thing together.
Both of us have a goal of running a sub 4 hour marathon in all 50 states, and have joined the 50 Sub 4
marathon club. So, our only goal today is to break 4 hours. Feeling much more relaxed this day, than the previous day, we opt to sleep as late as we can, and plan to arrive at the start fairly close to the start time.
Webmaster Bill drove us to the start of the point to point course, allowing us to skip the mass marathon bus ride. Unfortunately, in the dark, we missed a turn, and wandered about 10 miles off course in the dark. I must admit, it was NOT an obvious turn like I missed in Wyoming last week, but I am hoping wrong turns don't become a tradition for us.
We eventually arrived at the start with just minutes to spare. We got out of the car, and were pounded with a chilly wind. We kept our sweatshirts on until after the start, and tossed them at Bill as we headed off.
This was Joey's first back-to-back, so he didn't know what to expect. His legs were pretty sore after the previous day's tough effort. I encouragingly assured him that once we start moving, it will hurt more. Kidding, once your legs loosen up a bit... ok, I am not going to lie, it still hurts. But not as bad as you'd think. Really.
Fortunately, our blast of wind was a tail wind. The course was hillier than we expected. We knew the biggest hill would crest at about mile 12, which turned out to be more like mile 13. That hill just seemed to go on forever. After that, each hill we crested, the volunteers told us it was all down hill. Yeah, we stopped believing that after 3 or 4 times.
The course was scenic. Aid stations were just a tad too far apart. We felt a bit dehydrated, and had to gulp 3 to 4 cups of water at each aid station, which can make a tummy a bit annoyed. We got a kick out of a little smunchkin working at one of the aid stations, who offered us 'Gatowade'. What a cutie.
Though a pretty small marathon, the finish line had the feel of a much larger event. We finished in downtown Bozeman, with music greeting us, and announcer calling our names, an inflatable finish banner thingie.
We kept a fairly steady pace, slowing a bit in the low 20 miles, but kicked it in a bit for the last 2 miles. Joey was able to muster up enough kick to leap over the finish line.
I was leaping on the inside. If I leaped on the outside, I'd likely find out what a finish mat tastes like.
Our post-race recovery was spent at Yellowstone National Park, about 90 minutes away. 90 minutes in the car is the perfect amount to let your legs completely stiffen up after your second marathon in a weekend. We hobbled around viewing geothermic features, and people-watching.
OK, for those keeping score:
26 marathon states
20 sub 4 hour marathon states
Joey also has 20 sub 4 hour marathon states
More marathon picture can be found here
Vacation pics from Idaho and Montana and Yellowstone can be found here